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Poster: BornEasement Date: Sep 12, 2012 11:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dylan's 'Tempest' , somewhat Dead related

I had a better feeling than you. The use of really archaic soundscapes for the intros on Duquesne Whistle and Soon After Midnight (is that Mono, excepting the Vox?) really adds a great dimension to his already quite cluttered toolbox. But, backtracking a bit to respond to your comparisons:

Bob's command of music theory has, since "Love and Theft", clearly exceeded anything he had going on in the early days. That's not to say the songs are 'Better' of course, but he's simply got a wider range of chords and melodic devices at his disposal. Check out the chords to Bye and Bye and Floater (too much to ask) from L+T on, you'll see... is that... DIMINISHED CHORDS! There's nothing like that on his classics. Sure he still throws in the blues, but the point is he's been at work in a new way: complex harmonies. The pattern of blues's mixed with wierdo lyrical pseudo-jazz concoctions basically persisted on Modern Times, and DEFINITELY the Christmas album (where, let's face it, the whole art was arrangement anyway), but there was a bit of a change-up on Together Through Life. The sophistication of the arrangements weren't being built into actual chord progressions but, in a rather dead-ish move, the focus shifted to novel instrumental formulations. The chords stayed relatively formulaic, but their presentation became something truly bizarre and truly Dylan. It opened up room to really zero-in on some new and great lyrics, and I liked it. The more fiddles and accordions the better, methinks. Frankly, this pointed to a return to his Time Out of Mind style of writing: straight blues and ballad format, deconstructed by a great band and great production.

As far as I'm concerned, Tempest was a step even further in this direction. The "oddball" instruments might not have as big a presence, but, as I said, other techniques- like the way songs seem to bubble out of odd, empty atmospheres, and the way instruments mirror the melody- or create alternate ones- throughout the tune (see roll on john, long and wasted years, and duquesne whistle) -really caught my ear, and he really opened up space for some of his best lyrical work in years. Concision has never been Dylan's deal, and I'm for one happy to see him return to longer songs. Part of the appeal of Dylan's lyrics is world-building rather than narrative-telling. More length means a bigger, more interesting world. Sure it can be taxing when the chords are so simple, but the appeal borrows more from whats interesting about listening to a well written long-form poem than what's interesting about listening to a meaty dead jam. Though, as an English Major specializing in the middle ages, maybe my attention span has been stretched for such things.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Sep 13, 2012 8:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dylan's 'Tempest' , somewhat Dead related

A great post, and an insightful look at the later day Dylan . His expanding his musical palette, in to pre-rock pop, and Bing Crosby in particular , has been fascinating, if only his voice was up to where he wanted to go . I though "Together Through Life", suffered from this, but is not the case on the new album .
I too think the accordions, and violins are a welcome addition to the sound .
Despite some caveats I may have ( I have only listened to it once !) it is exciting to have a new Dylan album, that has everyone paying attention to . For a long time fan, this is pretty great .
This response is much shorter that my initial one, which I accidentally lost ! Anyway, here is a review, that sort of echoes my, "Hold on now" feeling .